Sunday, August 30, 2015

32 Teams, 32 Haiku, My 2015 NFL Preview

If the ringing of school bells and an unusual late August cold snap haven't made it obvious, summer is more or less over. That also means football season is right around the corner. Here is my annual forecast, 17 syllables at a time:

1. Bengals (10-6). Dalton, Green, and crew/have the experience to/leave playoffs early.
2. Ravens (9-7). Defensive upgrades/were a plus; tough road matchups/are the X-factor.
3. Steelers (8-8). Young and dangerous/Big Ben is on the clock now/solid dark horse pick.
4. Browns (5-11). Weakest among weak/the Manziel drama distracts/great O-line squandered.

1. Patriots (11-5). Deflated footballs/a temporary setback/playoffs are a lock.
2. Dolphins* (10-6). A sleeper, perhaps/a scary passing attack/might usurp the Pats.
3. Bills (7-9). Knowing Rex Ryan/the defense will do its job/but who's the QB?
4. Jets (4-12). New coach, more drama/after big moves, disarray/is Gang Green diseased?

1. Colts (13-3). Luck? More like fortune/in weak division, triumph/and maybe a ring.
2. Texans (8-8). Foster and Hopkins/carry the O; JJ Watt/carries Lone Star dreams.
3. Titans (5-11). Mariota? STUD/but there's little else to gloat/about in Nashville.
4. Jaguars (3-13). Offseason chaos/for an already bad team/makes great comedy.

1. Broncos (12-4). Weary old Peyton/is surrounded by enough/to contend once more.
2. Chiefs* (10-6). The talent's there, but/the receivers need touchdowns/playmakers, step up!
3. Chargers (8-8). A potent offense/has many Rivers to cross/if playoffs are goal.
4. Raiders (4-12). Last year in Oakland?/Question marks abound, although/the youth shows promise.

1. Packers (11-5). Losing Jordy hurts/but Rodgers will persevere/in the land of cheese.
2. Vikings (9-7). Teddy and All Day/on paper, a lethal pair/but unknowns linger.
3. Lions (8-8). A boy named Suh, gone/in comes Haloti Ngata/a small step backwards.
4. Bears (6-10). Adieu, weak Trestman/sly Fox picks up the pieces/but Jay doesn't care.

1. Eagles (11-5). Uh... hi, Tim Tebow/you and Bradford might tag-team/Kelly, mad genius?
2. Cowboys* (10-6). Besides running back/there's less uncertainty here/Randle might break out.
3. Giants (7-9). Odell's theatrics/will be a fun distraction/on a middling team.
4. Redskins (5-11). Gruden and Griffin/squabble; if you thought Congress/couldn't get work done...

1. Panthers (9-7). Victors by default/a stingy defense beclouds/a suspect run game.
2. Falcons (8-8). Matty Ice is fine/but the D needs work A-SAP/will guru Quinn help?
3. Saints (6-10). Age and attrition/an overhaul looms, but don't/undervalue Brees.
4. Buccaneers (4-12). Winston is smokin'/...or so he thinks; growing pains/for jejune pirates.

1. Seahawks (12-4). The 12th man matters/mostly unchanged, they'll conquer/Big Russ won't back down.
2. Cardinals* (10-6). Overachievers?/I disagree; these Redbirds/have many weapons.
3. 49ers (7-9). A mass exodus/an empire in tatters/but they might compete.
4. Rams (5-11). A healthy QB/is a godsend, but playoffs/would be a surprise.

NFL MVP: JJ Watt, Texans
Offensive ROY: Amari Cooper, Raiders
Defensive ROY: Landon Collins, Giants
First Head Coach Fired: Gus Bradley, Jaguars
Super Bowl L: Seahawks 24, Colts 19


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